In Oklahoma, a person can be arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia, or the implements used to smoke, ingest, or inject illegal drugs. Often, this offense is charged in conjunction with possession of a controlled dangerous substance. For example, a person who is arrested for marijuana possession may be additionally charged with possession of drug paraphernalia if he or she also had a bong or roach clip.
Possession of drug paraphernalia is a misdemeanor on the first offense, carrying a maximum of one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. While a misdemeanor conviction is no small matter, a second or subsequent conviction of paraphernalia possession brings even more serious penalties: up to $10,000 in fines and a 3-year suspension of one's driver's license.
Do not make the mistake of thinking that a misdemeanor charge for possession of paraphernalia is no big deal. It is a criminal charge that carries lasting repercussions beyond the initial conviction and sentence. A criminal record can negatively impact your ability to find a job, secure a financial loan, obtain a housing lease, or gain admission into a college or university.
If you are arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia, act quickly to find a lawyer who can handle your case efficiently and effectively. At the Law Firm of Oklahoma, our team of attorneys has built a record of successful defense against misdemeanor and felony drug cases, securing positive outcomes for our clients charged with drug possession, possession of paraphernalia, drug distribution, and cultivation and manufacture of controlled dangerous substances.
We understand the impact a drug paraphernalia possession conviction can have on your current and future opportunities. We are committed to providing every client with quality defense to minimize the effects of a criminal charge and to avoid unnecessary conviction and penalties.
Not all drug paraphernalia is illegal. Devices used to lawfully take a prescribed drug in the intended manner are not illegal. However, state law sees a big difference in a syringe used by a diabetic to inject insulin and a syringe used by a heroin addict to shoot up.
While possession of drug paraphernalia is a misdemeanor, the sale of drug paraphernalia to a minor under 18 is a felony. Felony conviction brings not only lengthy prison sentences and heavy fines, but also collateral consequences including the inability to gain certain professional licenses, loss of voting rights, and the prohibition of firearm possession.
The Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Act defines "drug paraphernalia" in 63 O.S. 2-101 (36) of the Oklahoma Public Health and Safety code:
"'Drug paraphernalia'means all equipment, products and materials of any kind which are used, intended for use, or fashioned specifically for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, concealing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling or otherwise introducing into the human body, a controlled dangerous substance in violation of the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Act . . . ."
The following items are among those prohibited as illegal drug paraphernalia:
The above list is by no means exhaustive. Any item used for illegally cultivating, manufacturing, processing, or using a CDS may be considered drug paraphernalia, and possession of such an item could lead to criminal charges.
Some "head shops" attempt to circumvent drug paraphernalia laws by marketing items used to smoke marijuana or other drugs as "incense burners." However, even if an item is marketed for legal use, it may be considered illegal drug paraphernalia if it is used in an illicit manner, if it contains drug residue, or if it is found in the proximity of illegal drugs.
In 63 O.S. 2-101.1, state law describes how a jury should determine whether or not the item alleged to be in the defendant's possession is considered drug paraphernalia. Determining factors include the following:
A skillful defense attorney may be able to use the defining features of the item in question to demonstrate that it is not, in fact, drug paraphernalia, but an item with lawful use and purpose.
At the Law Firm of Oklahoma, we have represented hundreds of clients just like you, who are facing serious legal consequences after a criminal drug charge, including possession of drug paraphernalia.
Our clients trust us to carefully analyze the details of each case, including the all evidence and the circumstances surrounding your arrest. Through our painstaking attention to every aspect of your case, we work to determine the best defense strategy. Common defense strategies include demonstrating insufficient evidence, revealing an improper arrest, suppressing evidence gained through illegal search and seizure, and showing the lawful intended purpose of an item purported to be drug paraphernalia.
An arrest and criminal charge can be a frightening ordeal. Let the attorneys with the Law Firm of Oklahoma help guide you through this difficult time and work with you to find solutions to your legal problems. Call (405) 608-4990 to schedule a confidential, risk-free evaluation of your case.